MARC Bircham has praised the work ethic and ability of Mo Sharif after the 19-year-old netted a stunning free-kick in the Reserves’ 2-1 defeat to Leyton Orient at the Harlington training ground on Tuesday afternoon.
Sharif joined QPR’s youth set-up on trial two years ago – and was handed a pro contract within weeks after scoring seven goals in as many appearances at Under 18 level.
Naturally an attacking player, Sharif has played at left-back for the Reserves during pre-season, and Bircham has been delighted with how he has adapted.
“We have got a few attacking players in the group and as Mo is both footed I decided to try him at left back and he’s done very well there,” Bircham told www.qpr.co.uk.
“He did excellently against Aldershot and played well again against Orient.
“He’s fasting during Ramadan and yet he seemed to be one of the players with the most energy out there so full credit to him.”
Shairf scored late on with a curling free-kick from the edge of the box, and Bircham admitted: “It doesn’t seem to matter to Mo what position he plays in, he always seems to get a goal.
“He scored a great free-kick. The great thing about him is that he always wants to work.”
Sharif will no doubt have been boosted by the recent opportunities which have been offered to fellow-youth team graduates Michael Doughty, Michael Harriman and Max Ehmer.
The trio are currently in Germany with the first team, having also been involved in the pre-season tour of Asia last month.
“All the lads will have been encouraged by that,” Bircham said. “The gaffer, Bow (Mark Bowen) and Eddie (Niedzwiecki) are always interested in how the younger pros are doing and always asking questions about them.
“They have shown that if you’re good enough they’ll give you a chance. You can’t ask for more than that.
“The jump between the first team and the youth team has undoubtedly got bigger because of the amount of quality that has come in over the last year or so.
“We have gone onto the next level in terms of player acquisition and that means the young lads are going to have to be of a really good standard if they are going to get into that squad.
“But that’s a good challenge for them.”